Photography Tips: Composition – disassociation
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Photography Tips: Composition – disassociation

September 24, 2019

I love nice clean simple looking images you
know something that’s sells the sizzle rather
than the sausage something which gives a hint a
feeling of a place now I was walking down this
very Street last week with a guy called Jason milner
who’s on my Lanzarote photo workshop we just been photographing a sunrise
round the corner which is a really spectacular little location when the
weather’s right you do your research afterwards we were walking through here
is looking for some pictures as a whole group and Jason set site to me which really
struck a course so I thought I’d make video I was showing him some of these shot which are just shown you
these nice clean simple two color graphic looking images and he was saying you never imagined that they were shot in this very Street
and he’s absolutely right he said it’s about learning how to
disassociate yourself from the surroundings and find the image
then and that really inspired me thank you Jason it thought it was such a call thought such a
great idea because it is completely true you need to look around cause if you can
see your camera is blind now disassociating
yourself from the surroundings just walking around here looking for
shots finding pictures so I thought I’d come out here and just
have a little look see what we can find another try and
replicate some of those shots for you Now this is gonna be difficult you’ve already seen the the Sun is
going in and out the lights changing this clouds in the
sky when I was down here with Jason the gang on the workshop it was a clear clear blue sky and that’s
how we got those first images wanna talk you through looking around
searching stuff out and finding things i wanna talk to you
about how I shot those images and I’m a shoot a couple
while we’re here let’s just wonder down this way a bit I’ll
show you to recognize it yeah exactly its up there isn’t it that’s where are
shot is how do we shoot it how would I go about shooting that now for first of all is about
seeing it’s about looking around we can from standing in the road here and it’s
very narrow it’s about seeing the image it’s about
looking around you all the time as you walking around so how would I isolate that from its surroundings well
is gonna be a long lens shot and to shoot a I’m gonna need be
standing against the wall over here so what focal length Am I gonna need to isolated
well it’s the one that works you know don’t get hung up about these numbers so
much it’s about looking through the camera
and then seeing if we can zoom in and out a
little bit and find what is going to work so if I hit the record button on here you are
now looking through my camera you can see so I’m zooming in and out finding what works looking for the composition where do we want a place
that house well I want it down low in the corner the composition I don’t
the camera landscape way because look it’s not a bad
picture and you can bring in the corner the other building but it’s another shot the
first one I want Matt empty empty kinda space
thing going on around the house so much for length actually 55
millimetres I’m using sort of standard focal length i want the camera this way up now where do I need to be I don’t want
quite so much clutter so i’m gonna move to my right and as I moved to my right you can
see things slightly re-aligning I wanna loose that little
black white whatever is edgewood or just to the right to the window with
shutters there we go so I’m in a place that down low like
that into the sky now we have got a clear blue sky like I had the other day but that’s going to be my shot see if i can
kill the video I’m and you shoot it so what’s it about the depth of the field I need well and a great deal I mean I’m gonna shoot it about F 11 I guess I got 400 of second that’s just bring the exposure down a
little bit because I don’t want to burn out my
highlights we got some very moody sky beyond on this just very different shot to the other
day but it’s still a nice shot so there we go we’re all lined up to 640 the
second f11 my composition is lined up and then is our picture and it’s really kind i nice Im shooting at 200 ISO
fifty five millimeters or crop sensor camera with isolated the shot there how about the other one the landscape
version well order to do really is turn the camera the other way up isnt it so we’ve gone from this composition here we’re now just kinda taking it this way aren’t we there’s no really much else to
do now can zoom in a little bit and just kinda see if that works are kinda
like that you know as a composition I kinda like that said
so that is gonna be my focal length: just there as opposed to just there just
little tiny tweak makes a world a difference and it sorta
found the scene towards those clouds that are going on
up there in the sky we’re going to focus well and a focus on the shutter there that white sorta shutter checkpoint exposure my histogram bright it up just tad one focal length at the end of the day
he’s just below 70 millimetres on a crop sensor and focus where I want it I want to bring the composition down the
bottom there and squeeze the shot now looking at the street you wouldn’t certainly imagine that this is where those shots were
taken you do have to disassociate yourself thanks Jason just can’t have a look for couple more look at the shadows on that building up in the corner up there you see right up in the corner of the
frame there’s those shadows now they can make
great abstracts we’ve also got shadow the chimney which
is right up on the top there and it’s against the wall so let’s see if
I can execute this some to go in so what do i need to do well let’s just have
a little look through the camera so there’s a little chimney stack on the
top and there’s it shadow and well as gorgeous little diagonal lines
going on so what focal length do we need to know what’s the bright focal length: the one that works so
looks for your viewfinder and change it let’s just start is a zoom in now I don’t
wanna see the chimney itself I just want the abstract pattern the blue
upright and those lines on the wall bring that
back a little more where do we wanna guy I think it’s
somewhere around their I kinda like so that’s why
I’m gonna shoot kill the video mode that have a look at
it so we’re gonna focus is quite a long way away so you can focus on the wall be careful shooting things like this
because you camera will under exposes it so I’ll increase my
exposure by mmm full stop actually to make sure I’m goal nice bright whites I can always dark and it’ll be in
post-production if i need to so focus on the wall I’m sitting at F11
I’ve got 900 for the second using a two hundred
millimeter lens 200 ISO and I some are you wanna know
that stuff to sneak up for focal length and no more focus on the wall and line up our shot
movement to the right a bit and there’s our image I think that looks really cool I really
do like it and is another shot going on straight up
here let me show it to you there is my focus and this little video button look to the
right to those doors look at that window look at that window just there and that diagonal line coming across the
top of bit got a cloud in the sky which is a shame because I’d much rather have clear blue sky
however there’s still a shot to be had there so how
would I do this well I need to just love line my camera up
with all you know what I kinda like actually now let me show you I just seen because
you couldn’t say what I was doing then should hit my video button and wait for this truck to go sort of dangerous call to be doing this hey ho! you know I but I get run over there’s not too
much traffic right let’s get my video camera rocking and rolling so what
i’m looking at is this up here now kinda like that almost is the easy looking through the camera
but look if I just bring this in a little tighter I kinda rather like it like that I like
the blue coming down to the left you know on that pipe and I like the window
with the diagonal line above it and I like this or text is in the white
wall said that will be a shot I’m going to do
and not don’t even mind the grey clouds above I’ve rather blue sky but there you go so let’s
kill the video mode because you just saw me
composed the shot in the camera Im in about ninety millimeters
on a crop sensor so have to sneak up a little close to
you im might be out of focus to make it lined up nicely so here we go
here he is just get all lined up and there and and squeeze the shot what we got so shooting at 400 the second f11 focused on the window that is all peachy
dandy I have no problems with that at all take another one dont think I had my camera
quite level we also might look quite nice return the camera the other way up we check it and see I yea that’s pretty cool too so me show
you the difference so that’s roughly what our last
composition was so as i turn the camera the other way up
you see there’s another composition there very simple one fact I think I prefer
that one I like the like in the shade and I like the simplicity of it was just
zoom in a little more no maybe give it a bit more spice
always see how would bring in shadows this are tiny movements of focal length:
that is to make it work so let’s just see if I can bring in one
shadow like that there back i think is roughly the
composition that I want like that so let’s come out
of video mode if i can there we go to even get a shot
try not to get run over the same time you can hear it coming can’t you groovy dobby fun okay so so now we got high light and shades so im gonna use my histogram too make sure the exposure is go all the data I’m gonna
need I don’t want whites to burn out just get that
composition right cause I accidentally moved the focal length: very slightly
and that 400 F11 and take the
shot see what a simple easy little shot that is but the key to
all the sort some shots is looking around you being aware of your
surroundings and jason said disassociating yourself from those
surroundings subscribe to our YouTube channel to be
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photography videos well for more great photo tips workshops and training come in us on our website

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  1. Hi. Love abstract work myself. Just wondered what camera you were using. Loving the videos. Best wishes. Gail.

  2. Good stuff, I always think that there's a picture everywhere, it's just a case of seeing it. I like this kind of stuff, gets me going!

  3. Most impressed with the way the verticals snapped to, well…
    Vertical in the portrait shot of the window 😉

  4. Mike, this is awesome. It's something I know I struggle with. It seems you were in my head the last couple of weeks. Great video! Looking forward to the next one!

  5. Good use of technology. Although you haven't used it much in earlier videos. It provides more viewer engagement. I can see now how exactly you visualizing through camera.

    BTW, nice suggestion – "disassociation"
    Thank you so much for guiding in the journey.

  6. What a great idea of the little videos in which you show how you compose your shots! It must be harder work for you to produce those, but I think it's worth it!

  7. This for me is one of the hardest things to do. But it does make all the differents.
    Thanks for the great vid again!

  8. Not only do you teach, but you also inspire.  It's easy for an amateur such as myself to think in terms of point-and-shoot without giving too much thought to the subtitles of composition.  I think it's so cool that you took a section of a building that most people simply drive past and turned it into a great photo.  Another awesome video.  Thanks!

  9. Great stuff Mike, that's very helpful seeing the inset video of you setting up the composition.

    p.s. As usual I enjoy your Action Jackson moves trying not to get hit by vehicles. Just don't get run over man!

  10. Thank you very much, Mr. Browne for your (as always) awesome video!
    I just wonder how you resolve the issue of capturing video and looking through the viewfinder in the same time… It would be very helpful for me if you could detail this.
    I thank you in advance.

  11. I agree, what a great idea with the inset video, makes it a lot more visual and much easier to see what your frame of thought is when composing the shots. Thanks for another great video!

  12. Excellent informational and picturesque video as always Mike. My question is, are you using the Fujifilm X-T1 on this outing? I'm currently photographing with a Nikon D5100 but considering the new Fujifilm X-T10 for its weight, bulk, and Fuji colour. Thank You 🙂

  13. Thank you Mike for the tips you have a great talent for seeing photos that others would just walk by. Watched you 3 part interview very interesting, if photographer Mike Browne were to go on assignment for client Mike Browne where would  he go and what would his client want him to shoot?

  14. Thanks Mike, it is a great tutorial, by the way, what camera you can look through the view finder when you were recording the video?

  15. Liviu Moldova – I can't answer your question direct because you have to allow it in your G+ settings. I can see through the viewfinder whilst shooting video because it's a mirrorless camera. Fuji XT-1

  16. Thanks Mike. As usual another great video. Mike, would you give up DSLR for mirrorless camera? Thank you again.

  17. Great video. Love getting an insight into your thought process when composing the shot.

    The inset video of your little adjustments is brilliantly simple and really adds to the video.

  18. Another great video Mike. Love the idea of looking through the camera with you and seeing how you compose the shot.
    I see great shots most days ( normally on my way to and from work, when there is no time to stop ) and find myself composing the images in my mind. I guess it's just second nature after taking photographs for 30 odd years. Of late I have been taking my kit with me to work so I can get out during my lunch break to shoot.
    Thanks for sharing this video with us Mike and I look forward to the next.
    Best Wishes


  19. Thanks for this video Mike. I really enjoyed it. Also: I really liked how you used the video-mode to allow us to see you compose. Very clever use of mirrorless capabilities.

    Can you do more videos on composition? I'd love to see something about using color in your composition. Complementary, contrasting, split-complement, quadrantic, etc.

    As a side-note: I like your channel the most because you aren't that gear-oriented. You teach us the craft or art of photography, while other channels only teach us what tools there are and how they work. I'd rather learn how to paint, than to know how many hairs my brush has and what material it is made from.

  20. Thx for the video. That's also one of my photographic favorites looking for nice simple graphic details. Everybody should walk through his hometown with a different perspective. He will be astonished to see things he never saw before.

  21. Thanks, Mike, another enjoyable video. I like the way you build up the creative process, with ideas leading into decisions on settings.

  22. Love this type of photo project..really keeps the mind working when it comes to finding good composition and awesome lighting. Works well as a black and white conversion also. Thanks Mike.

  23. Disassociation indeed. The last thing you want is people distracting the hell out of your thought process, breathing down your neck and getting under your skin, even if it's your own family! I learned this the hard way and my photographic venture went down the drain.

  24. Thank you so much for introducing the video, Mike. Showing us how you actually compose the shot is adding tremendous value!

  25. Mike. Watching this great video and seeing those wonderful diagonal shadows reminded me of something. I used to love black and white photography as a young man. I loved the dramatic effect shadow could have on the final image and was always looking for those kinds of shots. I got good at picking them out after a while. As you and your friend said, learning to disassociate the image I was after from the surroundings and simplifying it. Shadow can have a very powerful effect on images in black and white.

    Anyway, I tried to learn from all kinds of places and one of them was high quality black and white movies. Shadow in old movies is often used to great effect and sometimes, to make a metaphorical statement. Something old time news photographers also used to use. An example is the market scene in that fantastic old movie, Casablanca. The main characters are all trapped in the town by the Nazi regime. In the scene I am referring too, diagonal shadows like those on the wall here, are used to suggest prison bars. It was a powerful effect.

    So, anyone wanting to explore black and white photography should take a look at some of those great old films, often shot by incredibly skilled cameramen, and pick up a few hints and tips. I guess the same could be said for colour photography too.

    All the best and thank you.


  26. Mike the great! One day you should make a composition of your brain man because it's not like ours!!!!!!!

  27. Thanks Mike for showing the importance of finding the quiet within the noise in order to create images which appeal. The idea of showing the buildup of the composition through in camera video is simple but effective.

  28. Thanks Mike! Loved it, especially the picture in picture shots of you composing the image – very helpful!

  29. You have great knowledge about the art of photography. This information is very important to me. Thanks ..

  30. Thanks for these tips, Mike.  Do you use a circ. polarizer on the shots where the sky is nice and blue? Or, do you punch them up in post production?

  31. That's a great, practical video, Mike!

    A while back I walked past a piece of street furniture, like a park bench: straight timber slats, in curvy alignment, timber grain with clear lacquer, some metal bits on it to prevent skateboarders from using it – the whole thing brand new.
    Walked around the thing, did a series of shots, some macro style shots with shallow depth of field, some working with the materials and patterns. Nobody would easily recognize a bench from the images.
    Sadly, the images didn’t look all that great when I looked at them on the big screen… but well… I tried.

  32. Hi Mike, watched the three part interview on "The Photo Show". Did you advertise for that? It would be really interesting for your fans (like me) to watch.

    The interview sure was very enthusiastic.. he produced a great interview with you.

  33. Sharing the video. Love your videos. I've been recommending and sharing your videos since I've subscribed to your channel. You're videos inspired and allowed me to see beyond what's there. Congratulations from Brazil. 🙂

  34. Great video Mike just like all of the others, you're probably the most interesting camera guy on YouTube. Thanks for spoiling us!

  35. Terrific video, Mike. And the type of photographs that I like the most: geometry!
    Live video is a bright idea!!!
    A few words about EV compensation for that snow white facades were most welcome, as well.
    Carry on with your lessons, Mike.

  36. Thank you, very interesting video – as always 😉 . I have a question: what kind of handstrap do you use? I think it is very useful for me too.

  37. I love photography like this. seeing, I mean actually seeing what is there, like the guy said, disassociate yourself from the whole and see the parts.

    You end up with images that are rather striking visually, I mean they are the kind of pictures you have as a desktop wallpaper because its so good.

  38. it looks to me most of these shots are taken with telephoto in the 200 to 300 mm range (full frame). Great photos and great tutorial nevertheless.

  39. good to see you doing more vids again,saw your interview about leaving you job to go for photography and that is where i am now,i feel i need a year out to concentrate on photography but it is a scary prospect after all the monthly pay keeps coming in, but if i don't do it now i feel that i may always regret it, i think my wife will need much persuasion

  40. hi Mike

    This is a wonderful video on how to 'disassociate' yourself from an overall scene and realise how many potential shots you can have within a given scene. I do this all the time but have never had it explained so beautifully as in this video.

    Im semi pro but never stop learning something new.

    Thank you so much for sharing your excellent videos with everyone.


  41. Lanzarotte…Wonderful. Was in Playa Blanca May/June 2016. Your photos are wonderful and encapsulate the best the eye can see. Mine don't. They are ok, but need to try harder. You are an inspiration.

  42. Hello Mr. Browne, I have this boring and common question, but with the hope you'll find some time to answer to it.
    I'm at my first camera, witch is a Dx Nikon and I feel that is the time to make an update. The most important thing in a picture for me is the color, natural living, bright color. The one with soul. And I see how good is Nikon in almost st every aspect, with their dynamic range, sharpness and everything, but except, as I said (and is my own opinion) the soul in the colors.
    So I am tempted by the Canon and Fuji. The thing is, I get to good, or to similar reviews for them (in terms that I look for of course)
    I don't think I sow you with a Canon but I see you like Fuji, and you know very good Nikon.
    I sow many comparisons between the two brands from different peoples but I trull like how you explain things. So I am asking you not witch brand is the best, or what brand you prefer, but what you like at this particular cameras.
    From Canon I'm intend for 6D with sigma 50mm 1.4 art, Canon 85mm 1.2 L and a mid range zoom
    From Fuji I am a bit stuck between X-t1 and X-pro1 (or x-pro2, don't know if the new sensor worth indeed the money yet, cuz they are fairly new and expensive). And for the lenses Zeiss touit 32mm 1.8, Fuji 56mm 1.2 and a mid range, and here I a bit stuck between 16-55 2.8 and kit 18-55. I don't know if the difference is very big cuz I heard the kit lens have a very good optics.
    You sure want to ask me what I want to shoot with them. I am interested in portraits, street photography and somehow I try to look on the street more for street portraiture. I also shoot more this in low light. I am not really for head shoot so the Canon 85mm is not very helpful but I do like it a lot, and the colors he get (I wish Otus but is to much expensive for me)
    A, I do like wide open portraits
    So if you do like this kits, what do you like most at them, what is your opinion?
    Or what you suggest?
    Thank you, Sory for the long text, and sory for the mistakes, I am a Romanian 🙂

  43. What GREAT IDEAS Mike. I’m almost 69 years now and believe me I had not come across anyone who can TEACH PHOTOGRAPHY like you do.
     You are simply GREAT.
    To understand what I’m talking about, I’m an Architect and understand a little bit of “Composition, Mass, Form, objects and supporting objects.

    Just keep it up and help enthusiast to understand PHOTOGRAPHY.
    Malay Bose

  44. Lol, at the beginning of this video i thought you were in Ilios – Greece. Hahaha.

    Nice way to disassociate yourself from what surrounds you.
    I will do the same in my "rusty" city (Malaga – Spain) and find some nice abstract geometric shots too, maybe i can make people think that i was in another country 😛

    Nice day, Mike!

  45. Which type of strap are you using to secure the camera? Reckon it was too hot for a shoulder strap. Thx for great videos. Cheers.

  46. Jut another classically great video by Mike. I was wandering about some of the pictures where there are marks on the white walls, do you leave them in the picture as character or clean them up in post processing?

  47. Absolutely loving your videos dealing with architecture and minimalism! Would be great to see more – maybe a whole series? 🙂

  48. I learned this a while ago as ''pretend I only have one eye", so I see what the camera does. Initially, I covered one eye with my hand; but now I just imagine that my brain IS the camera. Thanks for filling in the gaps in my knowledge.

  49. Your a hard man to contact. Apparently my slr 35mm course i did years ago will not work for me to get licenced so i have to do a digital course. i no it may sound silly but that is the law today. Can you help in any way please contact me on my email that you have. many thanks.

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